With terms like gold-plated, gold-filled and gold vermeil floating around the internet, it’s easy to get mixed up and fall immediately in love with an impulse purchase that doesn’t last as long as you like.
So to clear up any questions you may have, we thought we’d break down different platings, and some of the different terms you might be seeing so you can make the best-informed choice for you.
The least expensive of the gold options, gold plated is a method of covering up another type of metal with a very thin layer of gold via electroplating. This method results in only about 0.5-1 microns of gold on plated jewelry, meaning that these pieces don’t offer much in terms of longevity. Additionally, it is not always good for those who are allergic to different types of metals, as the gold eventually rubs off.
Gold-filled jewelry is a much better option if you’re looking to curate a lasting collection of jewelry for yourself. Gold-filled has 100% more gold than gold-plated jewelry, making it more valuable and durable. It is also created differently, with two to three layers of gold being bonded to a base-metal (such as jeweler's brass). These pieces are great if you can't quite bring yourself to invest in solid gold yet.
Gold Vermeil sounds fancy, because it is essentially a fancier version of gold-filled. It differs in that the base metal must be sterling silver, and that the gold used is often 10 karats or above. The gold layer is typically a gold leaf or powder, and must be at least 2.5 microns thick. Gold Vermeil is more durable and can be worn day to day, without worries of allergies or signs of overuse.
Obviously our favourite. Solid gold is exactly as it sounds, and is made to last a lifetime. The minimum caratage for an item to be called gold varies by country. The Canadian standard is minimum 10K. If you are looking for more low-cost options to acquire a solid gold piece, recycled gold, and vintage and estate collections are a great place to find beautiful solid gold pieces for a fraction of the cost.
How did you like that crash course on gold jewelry? We hope it helps you feel more confident in your buying decisions as you continue to grow your collection. If you have more questions, our goldsmiths love to talk about this kind of thing; we would love to see you in store!